#MusicMonday Roundup

Saint Motel “Dear Dictator (Sam Sparro remix)”

Sam Sparro’s remix has given a 70’s lustre to this L.A. quartet’s caustic humour that screams disco balls and polyester with this song, but still sounds contemporary in a dramatic Scissor Sisters kind of way.  It might take a while to catch on, but well worth it.  Download it for free right here .

Tyler Hilton “This World Will Turn Your Way”

It’s been over 6 years since LA’s Tyler Hilton debuted with his CD The Tracks Of, which featured the catchy and modest “When It Comes” and jaunty crowd-pleasing fare such as my personal favourite, “The Letter Song”.  He had featured roles in TV’s “One Tree Hill” and as a young Elvis in the film “Walk The Line”.  He’s used his website, MySpace, and meet-and-greets at his shows to communicate with and secure his extremely loyal fan base, which has waited, through singles, album tracks, and EP’s for his upcoming full album release “The Storms We Share”.  From his latest EP “Ladies and Gentleman” comes the optimistic “This World Will Turn Your Way” with a very eye-catching and touching video, above.  Fans of Ryan Star and Rob Thomas should dig this, and if “World” is any indication, “The Storms We Share” will be well worth the long wait.

Elouise “Pretender”

If Sam Taylor’s “Run Away” was a contemporary torch song for the youngins and since Rufus Wainwright is wrapped up in the opera world, the UK’s Elouise is finding a niche with her own version of alternately sultry, soulful, campy, and bold torch pop that brings to mind everyone from Shirley Bassey and Dusty Springfield to Dionne Warwick.  Matched with Kylie Minogue producer Steve Anderson, Elouise’s 3 song EP Stardust, including “Pretender” (a live snippet in the video above, whose sonic power on record soars through you), goes right through the high quality meter, leaving you wanting much more.  I second and third the raves from fellow bloggers MyFizzyPop and Don’t Stop The Pop, so now the world has to catch up! Order it from Elouise’s website or via Bandcamp (where you can also hear the full version).

Tuned-On! Top 30 #331 – July 19/10

“8-bit Heart” by Simon Curtis continues in its second appearance at the top on my latest personal chart, as Simon begins recording his next release in West Virginia, and his Robot Army of fans just can’t wait!  But challenging for the next chart in two weeks is “A New Word To Say” by Bright Light Bright Light at #2, who have just signed to Virgin’s new Popjustice Hi-Fi label.  “A New Word To Say” is available to you free if you subscribe to Rod’s newsletter at the Bright Light x 2 website .  And if it can’t get any better, the first ‘official’ Bright Light x 2 single will be out on September 12 called “Love Part II”, and for now you can hear this amazing tune, certain to be one of the best of the year, right here .

As we head closer to the August 3 release of his 11:59 album, Ryan Star’s “Breathe” moves into the Top 5.  Justin Nozuka’s “Unwoken Dream (King with Everything)” moves up within the Top 10, and then we have four new Top 10 entries.  Not surprisingly, the first is Fastest Riser “Crossfire” by Brandon Flowers, obviously a contender for the top spot on my chart in a few weeks.  View the excellent video right here .  It’s taken perhaps a little longer than usual for them to get to the Top 10 because of the competition, but Evan Taubenfeld’s “Pumpkin Pie” and “It’s Like That” arrive, as does “Gettin’ Over You” by David Guetta & friends.  Next into the Top 10?  “Something Good Can Work” by Two Door Cinema Club, perhaps, as it leaps 17-12.

The chart has been pretty slow paced lately, not to deny the calibre of the songs, as tunes by Goldfrapp, The Good Natured, Reni Lane, Roz Bell, and Lifehouse all move up nicely.

Our three debuts speak loudly about the quality of pop music in 2010. I didn’t even really like George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” when it came out in 1987, but it may have brought down some in-your-face barriers for music on radio.  While the song is definitely tamer now, and I never really thought it would be revived other than in kitschy or campy situations, it has been brought home in style.  As I blogged about recently , L.A. singer (and “Glee” backup vocalist!) Chris Mann recently released the song on iTunes with an especially strong vocal performance (you can view the stylish video right here) that may just be too good for the song itself, but here it is on my chart bowing at #23.

Next up, it’s taken me a little longer to warm up to “Friction” by LA’s Adam Tyler, as other bloggers took to it well before its official release last month.  Right now, I’m loving it when alternate free download versions of songs appear online, and the late 80’s early 90’s near-Hi-NRG frenetic vibe of the Ricardo Autobahn edit has sold me on it.  The video, at the top of this page, is definitely intriguing and Adam is a talent to watch!

Lastly, London-based duo Bim, comprised of Rebecca Rosier and Tim Davis, have released glorious if melancholy ear candy in the form of “Head Over Heels”, from their upcoming release Scatterheart, which will be accompanied by a number of videos.  Despite its upbeat title, “Head Over Heels” is indeed a sad song about the end of a relationship.  It’s empathetic theme sinks in after a few listens and hits a home run.  If you’re in England, watch for Bim on tour!  Listen to “Head Over Heels” on Bim’s MySpace page .

View the full chart right here or using the link underneath ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** on the right.  Enjoy 🙂

Note for Chartphiles 🙂 – My online database – the link is under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** – with my complete chart history since 1998 is updated to the current chart.  If you get any strange messages, click Run, then No, and then you may also have to refresh.

Is it Really Looking a Bit Like 2004 (or Maybe 2002)??

In addition to this blog, I am the co-administrator at M4B Charts Central , which has an entertaining message board which you can all join.

The site and board has quite an active discussion about songs on our Globalchart, compiled by my co-admin Bryan Armstrong since 2003.  The Globalchart, which I started and compiled for the first four years, is a composite chart of personal chart rankings of about 50 Internet music chart makers, and has been published since 1998.  When I have the opportunity, I write a Chart Observations about the Globalchart, and this week took a turn for the silly when I noticed all kinds of things similar to 2004 (and a couple to 2002!).

Scroll down the page to view the chart and my commentary, and enjoy.

#MusicMonday Roundup

We’ll start our Music Monday Roundup today with the latest video from Justin Nozuka’s You I Wind Land and Sea album, “Heartless”.  This is a solid, emotional pop/rock release that may have longer lasting legs than “My Heart Is Yours”.  And it’s not a cover of the Kanye West song!

Our friends at Pop Justice have unveiled their new record label, Popjustice Hi-Fi, to be distributed (at least in the UK) by Virgin.  Their first two records are from Swedish singer Rosanna and wonderful Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas), whose introductory single “A New Word To Say” is one of my 10 current favourites.  Congrats!

The official album cover for Flamingo by Brandon Flowers is:

A view of Las Vegas from a certain hotel, perhaps?  The full album is due on September 6.

I am still in the process of digesting Kylie Minogue’s Aphrodite album, however it is much better than I thought.  Not to slight it, but it’s Madonna’s Confessions On A Dancefloor-lite – it simply is not as robust but full of potential singles and dance floor hits.  So far I like “Get Outta My Way” (the reported second single) and “Cupid Boy” the best.

New UK duo Bim (below) have issued a fabulous free download of the track “Head over Heels” from their upcoming album Scatterheart that is well worth the subscription to their newsletter at their official website.  This song puts ‘gorgeous’ back into current pop music!

The Next Great Voice You Hear is from Chris Mann

OH MY.  It’s not often that I am left speechless but our friends at Electroqueer have done it again.  They’ve blogged about Kansas-born Chris Mann (another great unheard voice from Kansas, like Clayton Senne)  and after hearing his supurb cover of George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” – yeahhhh I know, but it’s really, really good! – I had to hear more.

So I head over to his MySpace site to listen to other songs from his EP released almost a year ago, and available on iTunes.  The best version of Kanye West’s “Heartless” hands down – almost made me cry.  But Chris is a songwriter too so there are plenty of originals like “When The Lights Fade” to keep you interested.  The guy has an amazingly natural, soulful voice with such drawing power that it’s hard to get enough.  Dan Black meets Sam Sparro, for starters??

Reading through his blogs, it appears that he has some great industry connections – it looks like he toured with the wonderful Idina Menzel and my 10 year old daughter’s eyes have almost popped out – and has been writing songs for the upcoming album by Mr. Shu himself, Matthew Morrison.  Chris is performing a show in NYC on August 5.  I am in NYC that week but alas will be gone by the time of his show (sob!).

I don’t say it often – Not To Be Missed!!  The video for “I Want Your Sex” is below.

Songs I Bought While CD Shopping

I’ve always enjoyed living in Toronto for big city shopping at reasonable prices.  We’ve always had it good in terms of record shopping, though it’s been very sad to see many stores close in the last 5 years or so.

On an extremely hot and humid day today, I ventured out to one of the last great record stores in Toronto, Sonic Boom on Bloor St. W. just east of Bathurst.  The store accepts all kinds of used records.  The last time I was there in April, I didn’t find anything to buy.  In their bin for CD’s $5.00 and under, I found four CD’s, one surprisingly recent by  a little promoted performer that I plan to listen to closely.  The others were oldie collections, and I added two more CD’s for $5.95 to the fun.

So here are the songs on the oldies collections that I bought for less than $25.00!  I bought most of these collections because I didn’t have the songs on CD or mp3 though I do have many on vinyl – and don’t cringe at some of these, though some may be your guilty pleasures too!  Some came with the collection… and I may never play the ones I don’t like.  Enjoy!

1-2-3 – Len Barry – 1966

Blinded By The Light – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – 1977

Blue Bayou – Linda Ronstadt – 1977

Brother Louie – Stories – 1973

Can’t Get Used To Losing You – The (English) Beat – 1983

Centrefold – J. Geils Band – 1982

C’est La Vie – Robbie Nevil – 1986

Cold As Ice – Foreigner – 1977

The Cover of Rolling Stone – Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show – 1973

Dead Skunk – Loudon Wainwright III – 1973

Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood – Santa Esmeralda – 1977

Dreams – Fleetwood Mac – 1977

Drift Away – Dobie Gray – 1973

Easy Come Easy Go – Bobby Sherman – 1970

Eve Of Destruction – Barry McGuire – 1965

Feels Like The First Time – Foreigner – 1977

Fly Like An Eagle – Steve Miller Band – 1977

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex & The Sex-O-Lettes – 1975

Get Up And Boogie – Silver Convention – 1976

Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr. – 1984

Gold – Spandau Ballet – 1984

Got To Give It Up – Marvin Gaye – 1977

Handy Man – James Taylor – 1977

The Harder I Try – Brother Beyond – 1988

Heard It In A Love Song – Marshall Tucker Band – 1977

Heartbeat It’s A Lovebeat – DeFranco Family – 1973

Help Me Rhonda – Beach Boys – 1965

Hold Me Now – Thompson Twins – 1984

How Deep Is Your Love – Bee Gees – 1977

Hyperactive – Thomas Dolby – 1984

I Got You Babe – Sonny & Cher – 1965

I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany – 1987

I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Nik Kershaw – 1984

I’m In You – Peter Frampton – 1977

I’m Doin’ Fine Now – New York City – 1973

In And Out Of Love – Imagination – 1981

It Never Rains In Southern California – Albert Hammond – 1972

It’s So Easy – Linda Ronstadt – 1977

Jeans On – David Dundas – 1977

Jimmy Loves Mary-Anne – Looking Glass – 1973

Last Song – Edward Bear – 1973

Let Her In – John Travolta – 1976

A Lover’s Concerto – The Toys – 1965

Making Our Dreams Come True – Cyndi Grecco – 1976

The Name Game – Shirley Ellis – 1965

Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley – 1987

A New England – Kirsty MacColl – 1985

The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia – Vicki Lawrence – 1973

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – Starship – 1987

Oh Babe What Would You Say – Hurricane Smith – 1973

Pass The Dutchie – Musical Youth – 1982

Popcorn – Hot Butter – 1972

Rich Girl – Hall & Oates – 1977

Rock and Roll Lullaby – BJ Thomas – 1972

Rocky – Austin Roberts – 1975

Serpentine Fire – Earth, Wind & Fire – 1977

Slip Slidin’ Away – Paul Simon – 1978

So In To You – Atlanta Rhythm Section – 1977

Something’s Gotten a Hold Of My Heart – Marc Almond f/ Gene Pitney – 1989

Southern Nights – Glen Campbell – 1977

Stayin’ Alive – Bee Gees – 1978

Stuck In The Middle with You – Stealers Wheel – 1973

System Addict – Five Star – 1986

Telephone Man – Meri Wilson – 1977

They Don’t Know – Tracey Ullman – 1984

The Things We Do For Love – 10cc – 1977

This Diamond Ring – Gary Lewis & The Playboys – 1965

The Tide Is High – Blondie – 1981

Treat Her Right – Roy Head – 1965

Tunnel Of Love – Fun Boy Three – 1983

Wildflower – Skylark – 1973

Wooly Bully – Sam The Sham & The Pharoahs – 1965

Year Of The Cat – Al Stewart – 1977

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – Righteous Brothers – 1965

From Entertainment Weekly: Adam Lambert, “White Collar”

It doesn’t appear on Entertainment Weekly’s web pages, so I’m wondering if Adam Lambert is secretly writing among us bloggers!  Take a look at his list “On My iPod” from EW’s double Best of Summer issue and you’ll see what I mean:

Sia “Clap Your Hands”

Mike Posner “Cooler Than Me”

Christina Aguilera “Bionic”

Robyn “Dancing On My Own” and “Dancehall Queen”

Miike Snow – self-titled album

And while it’s not about music, I’m very glad to see EW giving props to one of my favourite TV shows that’s starting off its second season, “White Collar”.  I keep getting tweets that it’s shooting on location in New York City, so I’m hoping those shoots will continue when I’m there in a few weeks 🙂  Read about “White Collar” right here on EW’s web site.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #330 – July 5/10

As we now sit two weeks into summer and into the second half of 2010, Simon Curtis returns to #1 after a month’s absence, this time with the title track to his mixtape 8-bit Heart – view the charming acapella video here.  While the song initially struck me during my first few listens earlier this year, I set it aside in favour of  the excellent “Beat Drop”, “Delusional” and “Joystick”.  It wasn’t until I realized that the song was the emotional core of the mixtape that my initial perspective returned, hence it arrives at the top of my personal chart.  That makes it 3 #1’s for Simon since last December 🙂

Mike Posner’s “Cooler Than Me” and Christina Aguilera’s “Not Myself Tonight” look to be peaking in the Top 5, while Bright Light Bright Light’s “A New Word To Say” looks to charge up the middle and end up in the Top 5 in two weeks.  Justin Nozuka’s beauty that is “Unwoken Dream (King with Everything)” – though I’m becoming awfully partial to “Heartless” from his You I Wind Land And Sea CD – and Ryan Star’s “Breathe” arrive in the Top 10.  I’m looking forward to the release of Ryan’s full length major label debut 11:59 on August 3, the same date as his concert at Irving Plaza in NYC which I will be attending.

The Top 10 looks to be an interesting place in two weeks as two Evan Taubenfeld tracks, “Pumpkin Pie” and “It’s Like That” are held at bay, followed below by summer party jam “Gettin’ Over You” by David Guetta, Chris Willis, Fergie and LMFAO.  Two Door Cinema Club’s “Something Good Can Work” sends positive thoughts through to summer listeners in the Top 20, while solid second chart moves come from Goldfrapp’s “Dreaming” (the fastest riser), Reni Lane’s “Place for Us”, and The Good Natured’s “Your Body Is A Machine”, which is now available on iTunes.

I’ve already discussed at length recently this week’s debuts by Roz Bell “Endless Summer Night”, Billy Franks “The Beautiful Game”, and Hanson “Thinkin’ ‘Bout Somethin'”, so I’ll move to the other debuts.  Lifehouse’s Smoke & Mirrors CD has been keeping me plenty company since its arrival last Spring, and the second official single arrives on the chart, “All In”.  It’s a tougher single than “Halfway Gone” but pop radio needs a good rocking charge right now anyway.  And last but by no means least is the debut single from Killers lead singer Brandon Flowers.  “Crossfire” simply said strikes the listener so immediately with piano hook, straight forward melody, and highly identifiable vocal that it becomes an instant classic.  If by chance you haven’t heard it yet, please listen below and watch for the video on July 8 (starring Oscar winner Charlize Theron).

Gorgeous African Charity Single, plus new songs from ZACPOOR and Roz Bell

We now return you to our semi-regular blogging habit which is next only to listening to music new and old.

Above you will see the link to the video to “The Beautiful Game”, a lovely treasure of a tune by UK singer Billy Franks.  The proceeds to this song, which you can buy on iTunes, go to Prince Harry’s charity to benefit African children.  The timely theme, of course, is soccer, so the song serves a dual purpose for the love of the game played by so many African children.  It’s definitely an atypical song in these electronic times but its simplicity is contagious in the same way that took Paul Simon’s Graceland to build 24 years ago.  Billy Franks is a veteran singer who I was glad to learn was still making music a number of years back.  One of my favourite unheralded 80’s groups was UK’s Faith Brothers, of which Franks was lead vocalist.  They released two supremely excellent albums, Eventide and A Human Sound, which I’m happy to say are available most places now on iTunes.  View the video for the Faith Brothers’ 1985 track “A Stranger on Home Ground” below and get acquainted with a song that will make you want to hear more (I love YouTube for stuff like this 🙂 ).  And don’t forget to buy “The Beautiful Game”!

ZACPOOR, as he is billed, is a new Los Angeles talent that I discovered through our friends at Electroqueer.  I swear some of the best new voices around are discovered through the BlogVerse!  The song that strikes me most, which you can hear on his MySpace (as well a taste of the live rendition below in which you can hear the unique timbre in his voice) is “Silver Screens”.  Zac is obviously a songwriter who lives through his songs and would appeal to fans of someone like Jon McLaughlin as well as harder edged storytellers like Lifehouse.  If you’re in SoCal you can catch Zac live through July.

Roz Bell is a Toronto singer whose tunes I always look forward to hearing, since his laid-back and good-natured style captured me on his 2008 debut The First Sunbeams, which featured the singalongs “Yesterday Man” and “Papercut”.  A live set in Toronto in Spring 2008 broadcast on CBC radio gave him a nice showcase, and Roz followed up that album with the digital release October last Fall, which yielded another Canadian hit with “Heart Attack”.  And his soulful collaboration with 100 Akres for the free download of the funky  “Pink Cadillac” was one of my favourites of last year.  The upcoming CD is called Songs For Leaving, and from it comes the new single “Endless Summer Night”, which as the title expounds is for those clear, warm – but with a hint of breeze – city summer nights and havin’ a good time.  No brain surgery here folks – the friendliest of 2010 summer songs to make it all worthwhile.  Smells like a hit to me.  Enjoy!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #329 – June 21/10

Summer is upon us, and the music in this edition of my personal chart is generally very sunny and Popervescent!  And that’s always something I can turn to, especially during the past few weeks where life has been full throttle and I’ve just been unable to find the words to write… hence this is my first blog since June 7!  Well that’s an exception… Tomorrow, I hope to write about a few more tunes and artists that have interested me over the past while.

Penguin Prison’s “The Worse It Gets” puts me in a good mood whenever I play it, so it hangs onto the #1 spot for a 3rd chart (6 weeks).  Just below it, Simon Curtis’ “Beat Drop” stays put at #2 and I’ve now resigned myself to the fact that it is indeed my favourite track from Simon’s 8-bit Heart mixtape – I had previously wrote that “Delusional” (which like “Beat Drop” held court at the top for 4 charts) was my fave… but they’re awfully close!  Simon’s got some new music up his sleeve for sometime during the summer too.  The title track from his mixtape also lands at #4 and is surely a contender for #1.  Right behind him at #5 is Mike Posner, whose “Cooler Than Me” is now a North American hit.

The more negativity I read about Christina Aguilera’s “Not Myself Tonight”, the more it seems I appreciate it.  The song jumps 10-7… flashy and edgy video aside, you folks are missing a good song with a terrific vocal if you shunt it aside.  The Gossip lands in the Top 10 with “Pop Goes The World”, and Welsh singer Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light, has the fastest riser on the chart with the taste he’s providing of his upcoming album, “A New Word To Say”.

Below the Top 10, there’s a great deal of activity with songs pushing their way to the Top 10, including those by Justin Nozuka, Ryan Star (whose album release show in NYC I will be attending on August 3!), Evan Taubenfeld x 2, Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, Drake, Travis Garland, and Two Door Cinema Club.  You will certainly get an infectious case of good cheer by listening to many of these songs successively!

The debuts this week all belong to women with unique vocal stylings.  First up is actually a UK trio called The Good Natured, fronted by lead singer Sarah, who could be the happy result of Adele-meets-Tracey Thorn with her own brand of intrigue.  Their track “Your Body Is A Machine” as remixed by Baby Monster debuts at #26 – a delightful acoustic video clip of the song is at the top of this page.  Next up, Goldfrapp arrives on this chart for the first time with “Dreaming”, a track from the duo’s latest album Head First.  I’ve never truly got to appreciate Goldfrapp’s past efforts beyond passing listens, and the songs from Head First have yet to really gel with me – almost an about-face for the duo to create a record that might be over-the-top commercial.  But within it is “Dreaming”, which captured me with it’s heavy late-70’s disco influence while also giving a tip of the hat to Kate Bush along the way.  Last up, Reni Lane is an American singer whose album Ready dropped last Fall.  “Place for Us” has been gracing my iTouch for a while now, and the haunting quality of her voice in the Will Eastman remix has sunk in.  You can check out the video of the original mix at the bottom of this page.

You can view the chart in its entirety by clicking on the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or by clicking right here.

Thanks for reading and any comments that you have are greatly appreciated!

My next chart will be posted early in two weeks as I will be on a family vacation during the first week of July.